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U.S. Employers Post Fewer Openings in April, a Sign Hiring Will Remain Sluggish

Associated Press (06/19/12)

The U.S. Department of Labor reported Tuesday that job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 million in April, down from 3.7 million in March. The April figure was the lowest in five months, suggesting hiring will remain sluggish in the near future. The decline could mean employers are growing more cautious about adding workers in the face of financial turmoil in Europe and slower U.S. growth.

Openings have increased by nearly a third since the recession ended in June 2009, but they are still below prerecession levels of about five million per month. Though companies are posting more job openings, they are not necessarily filling them. Openings have increased by 13% in the past year, while gross hiring has increased only 4%.

The drop in openings was particularly steep in professional and business services. Available jobs fell 14% in that category. Fewer people quit their jobs last month, another pessimistic sign, as more resignations are evidence that workers are confident that they can find new jobs elsewhere.